Shrinking Cities: The Antidote to Greenfield Development

Developers should be looking to shrinking cities like Detroit and Buffalo, not to greenfields, for future development.

1 minute read

February 21, 2014, 5:00 AM PST

By NicoleFerraro


"Development of 'greenfields,' or previously undeveloped land, is expanding at alarming rates, contributing to degraded environments and isolated, car-dependent communities. This needs to stop," writes Kathleen Bakewell, founder and executive director of BioCities.

"Greenfields have been ravaged by sprawl development for decades. Perversely, at the same time, many American Rust Belt cities have been facing devastating property abandonment and population losses, known as the 'shrinking cities' phenomenon. Could two negatives make a positive?

"In other words, greenfield developers need space and infrastructure. Shrinking cities have excess space and infrastructure. Logic suggests that each could fulfill the needs of the other."

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